Suffering and Enlargement
“For this cause I Paul,
the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you…”
The precious fruits of His Spirit are often wrought within a life of suffering. There are deposits of His longsuffering that only time can produce. Even Godly desires need time to mellow in the harness of God. Great men and women are the consequence of years spent in wildernesses and rejection. Graces formed in the grand presses of God bring out His mercies and leave within a quiet resignation to the One who holds all things in His hands.
Paul in a Roman prison refused to acknowledge that he was a victim of Nero’s power. All through his epistles, he referred, one way or another, to the fact that he was a prisoner of the Lord Jesus Christ. He had learned in the countless trials he faced that there was ONE who rules over all things. Though Paul was bound, the Word of the Lord went forth to all nations; thousands of years later it is still going forth. Even in our day, there are brothers and sisters who hold their light and their testimony, undaunted by the darkness of their circumstances.
While many today rage at the darkness looming in our land, it is not those who hold the defiance who shall conqueror but those who find in Christ the freedom to live amid all the contention. We must find the freedom in Christ to live with our lamps burning brightly. The contradiction of evil is what refines and purifies the remnant of God. Joseph, bound in Pharoah’s prison, became a man fit and prepared for rulership. His trials gave him the wisdom and ability to reveal pure grace to those of his own house who had rejected and betrayed him.
Let disappointments become fuel to the hope we have in Christ. Its eternal flame cannot be quenched and over time hope compensates those who are held in its grip.
“Hope maketh not ashamed…”
“because the love of God is shed abroad
in our hearts by the Holy Ghost”
The God who sees all will not fail the true in heart.
“Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of (the) hope:
even to day do I declare that I will render double unto thee”
Zechariah 9:12 (Hebrew article)
There is a “stronghold” for those who are held by the hope we have in Christ Jesus.
Related Article: Ziklag – The Great Press of God
“My soul, if thou wouldst be enlarged into human sympathy, thou must be narrowed into limits of human suffering. Joseph’s dungeon is the road to Joseph’s throne. Thou canst not lift the iron load of thy brother if the iron hath not entered into thee. It is thy limit that is thine enlargement. It is the shadows of thy life that are the real fulfillment of thy dreams of glory. Murmur not at the shadows; they are better revelations than thy dreams. Say not that the shades of the prison-house have fettered thee; thy fetters are wings– wings of flight into the bosom of humanity. The door of thy prison-house is a door into the heart of the universe. God has enlarged thee by the binding of sorrow’s chain.”
– George Matheson